TV Review – Total Control: Episode 1

TL;DR – This is one of the strongest opening hours of TV I have seen in years, with the first few minutes affecting me in ways I was not ready for.  

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Total Control: Episode 1. Image Credit: ABC TV.

Review

A pilot episode of television has a lot it has to do. It has to set the tone, explain the setting, introduce you to the main characters, and find the drive for the whole season. I have seen a lot of TV show pilots in my time and even shows that are fantastic can fumble parts of this very important introduction. Well, today I look at a show that nails every single element in its 50 minutes run time.

So to set the scene, we open in on a tragedy where Alex Irving (Deborah Mailman) is thrust into the national spotlight after a video goes viral. Alex shuns all media request for interviews but she has caught the eye of someone important. Soon there is a knock at the door and Jonathan (Harry Richardson) who works for the Federal Government arrives at Alex and her mother Jan’s (Trisha Morton-Thomas) house in Winton in country Queensland. He is there with an offer for Alex to take over the seat of a Senator that has just died. She declines, saying that if Prime Minister Rachel Anderson (Rachel Griffiths) wants her to be a senator then she can come and ask herself, which is exactly what she does. For here we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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TV Review – The Good Place: Chillaxing

TL;DR – It is the moment when the loss and pain catch up with everyone.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

The Good Place: Chillaxing. Image Credit: NBC Studios.

Review

We continue our march to the final ever episode of The Good Place with a real threat looming over us. No one is improving and time is not infinite. It is in these moments of pressure in the past where the series has really excelled but will it work this time around.

So to set the scene, after our two-part season opener A Girl from Arizona, things had started to move into place. But every step forward was also a step back. They got rid of the demon in disguise, but then Chidi (William Jackson Harper) got brought more into the fold at the further expense of Eleanor’s (Kristen Bell) happiness. As well as this, after some struggles Janet (D’Arcy Carden) decided to break up with Jason (Manny Jacinto), leaving more of the group fractured. Just a reminder that we will be looking at the episode at the whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Les Norton: Season One

TL;DR – Was one of the more interesting shows I have seen on Australian TV by being both a throwback to the past and also something a little new 

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Les Norton. Image Credit: ABC.

Review

We took a look back at Les Norton’s first episode You Wouldn’t Be Dead For Quids, back when it first came out. Well, the first season has just finished so I wanted to take a moment to look back at the show and how well it did as a whole. A show about the 1980s, finding yourself in over your head, and also just about the most aggressively Australian TV show I have seen in a very long while.

So to set the scene, Les Norton (Alexander Bertrand) is a country boy from Dirranbandi in south-west Queensland. He’s had to skip town after an incident where a rival teammate was left fighting for his life with a head injury and he needed to disappear before there was a riot. He needed to find some work to get through his time in Sydney which is where he meets his guide and new friend Billy Dunne (Hunter Page-Lochard) working as a doorman at a local club in Kings Cross. The first 22 minutes of his shift is boring, but we come in at minute 23 and the fists start flying. The head of the club Price Galese (David Wenham) likes what he sees and brings him into the fold and Les discovers a world hidden out of sight, protected by the powerful, and who run on very different rules where discretion is key.

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TV Review – The Expanse: Season 3

TL;DR – This is and continues to be the gold standard to adaptations of literature, capturing the heart of the books, even if it does not hit every plot beat along the way.  

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Expanse. Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Review

I mentioned back in my look at the New Golden Age of Science Fiction that The Expanse is one of the best adaptations on TV at the moment. Here in Australia, I got to watch the first two seasons on Netflix and was constantly entranced with just what a good job they did of bringing James S. A. Corey’s books to life. The third season has been tricky to find but today I was able to hunt it down on Amazon and gave it a watch. Well, how does it do? Well, I can tell you that I watched the entire first arc of the season in one session, being so completely engrossed that I didn’t realise how late in the evening it had gotten … so that it is always a good sign.

So to set the scene, we open in the aftermath of season two and the turn that put Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) from a position of absolute power to her running for her life after being betrayed by Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle). Stuck on a ship that has just been fired upon by her own side there is not much hope for escape but then that is why she brought Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) a former Martian marine along. They manage to escape, but they are still under pursuit, and while they were gone the whole solar system has erupted into war and the Jupiter planetary system is ground zero for the conflict. Meanwhile, on the Rocinante the crew are dealing with two big problems, the fact that Naomi (Dominique Tipper) lied to them, and they have done nothing really to help Prax (Terry Chen) find his daughter. With everything falling apart the question is: will James Holden (Steven Strait) going to step in and help stop this war, or is he going to sit back and let others make the tough calls?    

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TV Review – The Good Place: A Girl from Arizona Part 1

TL;DR – A great start to propel the season forward.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Review

Well, it is time for all good thing to come to an end, in this case today we are looking at the beginning of the end as we explore the first episode of The Good Place’s fourth and final season. As much as there is sadness, there is also a certain joy that at least the show will get to go out on their own terms. Indeed, from what everyone has said it was a creative decision to end the show at this point and I will always respect that. Well let’s dive into the weird and quirky world of the ever after. 

So to set the scene, in the Season Three finale Pandemonium, The Judge (Maya Rudolph) gave everyone a chance to show that the point system is broken by creating a new neighbourhood to test it out with new people. However, The Bad Place, devious as ever, did not pick the worst people in the world, just the worst people for the team, including Chidi’s (William Jackson Harper) ex Simone (Kirby Howell-Baptiste). Knowing that he could not remain impartial Chidi has his mind wiped of everything including his love for Eleanor (Kristen Bell). Now they have one chance to show that everything is wrong and it is not going to be easy. Just a reminder that we will be looking at the episode at the whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Criminal (UK) Season 1

TL;DR – This is an interesting concept, with some powerful performances, but I am not sure three episodes was enough time to really show it off.  

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Criminal (UK). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Netflix as the premier multi-national streaming juggernaut (for the time being) has been doing a lot of experimenting in recent years. With Black Mirror: Bandersnatch they gave the world a choose your own adventure in cinematic form and with Ultimate Beastmaster they produced different versions for each of the countries participating. Well today we get to take a look at the next experiment with Criminal a series that produced four different versions for France, Germany, Spain, and the UK. Well today we are going to take a look at the UK version to see how this experiment works out.

To set the scene, we open in on DI Natalie Hobbs’ (Katherine Kelly) team as they begin an interview with the suspect of a murder. For you see her team are experts in interrogation, so they are used when there is a time crunch or a serious case that needs their attention. The first of these involves a doctor (David Tennant) that is accused of molesting and then murdering his step-daughter. The interview has been going for hours and time is running out because if they can’t find some way to get him to crack he could walk free. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – The Last Kids on Earth: Book 1

TL;DR – This is an interesting take on the End-Of-The-World genre

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

The Last Kids on Earth. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

When I say to you Zombie Apocalypse, I think for many people the first thing you would do is suppress a sigh. As a genre, it has been used multiple times and these days one could say that it has been done to death as long as they immediately followed it up immediately with ‘pun not attended’. However, every now and again, a new show will use the setting to explore something new and today we get to look at just such a show.

So to set the scene, we open in on Day 42 with Jack Sullivan (Nick Wolfhard) the only known survivor in his town. 42 Days ago portals opened up over his town and monsters and zombies came flooding out attacking the town. Some escaped, some were rescued, but more still were turned into zombies to roam the streets. Abandoned by his foster family, Jack survives by hiding in his foster brother’s treehouse and using that as a base of operation. He is trying to find his best buddy Quint (Garland Whitt) and rescue his flame June (Montse Hernandez), but first he needs to survive being hunted by a monster angry because Jack poked its eye out.

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